Parenting your toddler, Preschool or Not
Being a parent is not an easy job, any parent will tell you. This IS work people. There are hundreds of decisions to be made and the fact that these decisions will probably definitely affect the psyche or physical state of another human being, weighs heavy on our hearts. So we struggle to make what we each consider good choices. One celebrity said “I don’t understand when parents are critical of each other, it’s so hard anyway, can’t we all just be supportive?”
As your child hits the 2 ½ 3 year old mark, the subject of preschool will most likely be talked about in the playground. If yours is in daycare and you work full time, you may elect to leave them there. The legal public preschool age in New York City is 4yrs old. So those of us who work part time or are stay at home moms, may question what to do with our children as they get older and need more activity. In NYC the private preschool market is large in size and in cost. They know parents and their little ones are entering a more active stage and demand for preschool is high. They bank on it by charging college size yearly tuitions for painting, coloring and baby yoga. But again this piece is not judgemental and if you are enjoying a prosperous career and private preschool is helpful for you, then great!
Personally I knew I would never succumb to the NYC preschool madness. Not only because I can’t afford it but also on principal. In this economy, how do we rationalize paying $17000 a school year for childcare 3 hours a day? The fact that my pediatrician agrees wholeheartedly doesn’t hurt. We both have three year olds. She keeps hers home with her on her days off and when she is working, the child is with a sitter or family member. She says manners and discipline can be taught at home, crafts can be done at home and she actually likes spending time with her daughter when she has the chance. This was so refreshing for me to hear. I always love spending time with my child, watching the transformations of her growing each month. Of course I need mental breathers from her and I take them using sitters and going to work part time.
Our children are young for such a short time, I simply don’t see the need to send them to school at age 2/3 when they will be studying upwards of 16years. What I do instead is enroll her in classes. I have been doing that since she was 12months. Music, gymnastics, French, yoga etc.. the types of toddler classes offered are numerous. She has the opportunity to be out in the world experiencing new people without the cost of a structured private preschool and I can arrange a few classes a month to fit our schedule. We also visit museums, different playgrounds, restaurants, shopping. All of this is on the job learning for a toddler/ preschooler. Just stepping out the door greeting the postman teaches politeness and how the mail gets here.
Whichever way we choose to raise our children let’s hope that it is done with love understanding, patience and fun. There is no right or wrong method, when we make decisions from our hearts, the outcome is sure to have lasting benefits.